Why they call it "Shenanigans"

The Madison County Record Jun. 19, 2011, 3:00am

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they're always glad you came,
You want to be where you can see
Our troubles are all the same,
You want to be where everybody knows your name.
-Gerry Portnoy & Judy Hart Angelo

Some people like to hang out in bars and who can blame them? A bar can be a welcoming and comfortable place, particularly after a tough day at work or before a difficult evening at home.

But not every bar is like Cheers: full of lovable, harmless misfits. In the real world, bars often include lushes and lechers, loudmouths, rabble rousers and rowdies. Stop in at the wrong bar – or spend too much time at the right one, even -- and you might regret it.

Alcohol affects different people in different ways. It makes some people more convivial; others, it makes more belligerent. Some, it affects right away; with others, there's a delayed effect. In other words, there's really no way to tell when the Dr. Jekyll on the stool next to you is going to turn into Mr. Hyde.

There's no denying some bars have an atmosphere that promotes mayhem. That seems to be the main attraction. It behooves the timid tippler to shy away from such places.

In short, barhopping has its hazards, the worst being the intoxication of fellow patrons. Only the most innocent ingenue could express surprise at finding drunkards in a bar.

Yet, Paul David Antonio Buxton was shocked – shocked! – to encounter just such a person at Shenanigans Bar and Restaurant in Belleville.

Buxton claims a patron named Michael Meier got drunk and attacked him with a beer bottle. He's suing Meier, and the bar, for the injuries he received.

What did Paul David Antonio Buxton expect from a place called Shenanigans? And why isn't he responsible for stopping at the wrong bar at the wrong time, or staying too long?

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